This tight knit family business has a history of giving back. Karen Toufayan, VP of Marketing and Sales, credits her mother with instilling the important values in the family, and her father Harry with reinforcing it since they were children.
“Ever since I can remember, my Dad was always giving back to the community or anyone in need,” said Karen. “From small gifts to people he came in contact with daily, to dropping product off at local fishing derbies, it’s part of who he is.”
One of the largest and most significant projects undertaken was the rebuilding and expansion of a youth center in Armenia. After visiting his home country, Harry was moved by the need of children in the city. Undertaking the rebuilding of the crumbling structure, Harry also implemented improvements and additional activities. The center now houses an after school program with a focus on arts, sculpture, weaving, music and sports. After the completion, Harry saw another need for healthy meals, and once again expanded the center to include a soup kitchen which offers 3 meals a day, 365 days a year to those in need, including children and the elderly. Harry and his wife privately sponsor the center and make quarterly visits to oversee operations and determine additional need.
The Toufayan’s also help out at home, with donations and activities to support a number of causes. When asked what their most passionate endeavor is when it comes to giving back, Karen replied, “Children and their education. So many schools struggle with budget cuts, and it’s a perfect way to give back locally and invest in the future.” In 2009 the Toufayan’s ran a NYC marathon and raised more than $35,000 dollars to help a local school. In 2011 the Toufayan sisters ran again and raised almost $40,000 for the school’s financial aid fund. For the last ten years, Toufayan has also partnered with a local school to offer a breakfast snack for children who didn’t eat at home.
Beginning in 2014, Toufayan partnered with the National MS Society in both New Jersey and Florida, two of their major operating areas, to give back to the local community and help fight multiple sclerosis through support of fundraising efforts and participation in local community events. As a major corporate sponsor, Toufayan donated lunch to over 12,000 participants at the New Jersey MS Walk in Ridgefield Park. Siblings Greg and Karen Toufayan (and executives at Toufayan) also quite literally “got their hands dirty” in June at the annual Muckfest MS event in New Jersey, a mud run and obstacle course that brought out over 4,000 participants to raise awareness and funds for MS research and education. In September of 2014, Toufayan will participate in three Bike MS events, two in NJ, and one in FL, donating lunch for all of the participants. The partnership between Toufayan and MS grows stronger in the local communities of Florida and New Jersey each day, with more planned events for the future and beyond.
Natural disasters are also met with product shipments to feed those in need. Victims of recent tornadoes in Oklahoma and hurricanes on the east coast received assistance from Toufayan. Heart Walks, 5ks, AIDS charities and other activities are supported through lunch sponsorships and product donation. The Toufayan family is passionate about national organizations including the American Red Cross and Health Corps as well.
Like the long tradition of baking in the Toufayan family, they hope to pass the tradition of giving down to the next generation as well.